ell, At Chesapeake Bay Magazine we like to go to the experts for our information. So when it’s time to put together our Best of the Bay list, it’s only natural that we turn to you, our readers—the experts. As usual, you were more than happy to share your choices for the best places, restaurants, services, shops and activities on the Bay—and your thoughts on other Bay matters as well. One popular sentiment among the responses was that the Chesapeake is a wonderful place to boat and a great natural resource, and those of us who love it so much should take extra care in preserving it. Another general consensus was that sailors and powerboaters should learn to get along better and that those on the “other side” aren’t so bad after all. And you all agree that boating safety is paramount and that everyone needs to be mindful of the rules—especially those for wake zones, speed limits and drinking while boating.

This year’s respondents have an average of 22 years of Bay boating experience. Sixty percent are from ports north of the Potomac River and most are powerboaters (outnumbering the sailboate more than three to one). Since that’s usually the case among our survey respondents, this year we decided to delve further into what kind of boats you have and if you have more than one. Turns out that slightly more than 50 percent of respondents have at least two boats (and one reader owns a go-fast boat, a canoe, a sunfish and a kayak, all in addition to his cruising powerboat). Small powerboats were quite popular among those who own second boats (45 percent), followed by dinghies, small sailboats and kayaks.

Nearly all who responded enjoy cruising as their primary boating activity, get to the dock between 10 and 20 days per season and take their boat out somewhere between 20 and 40 times per season. As for cruising partners, just under half of you are yacht club members, about 40 percent bring kids along on cruises and 30 percent of you cruise with your pets. An overwhelming number of you also responded that next season you plan on taking your boat out more. So, as summer gets into full swing, get out there and find yourself some new favorites to tell us about next year.

–Ann Levelle

On to the results

The best, favorite, scariest and others